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Asian Services In Action Honors Community Partners

By Ray Hom

Asian Services in Action (ASIA) celebrated its 25th +1 anniversary on Friday, Oct. 14 during the return of their annual gala by recognizing key community partners, including the Akron Fire Department, Cleveland Department of Public Health, Huntington Bank, and its own staff.

ASIA is a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive direct services across Akron and Cleveland to new immigrants and refugees. After a 2-year hiatus from gathering together due to the pandemic, 250 guests attended the highly anticipated anniversary celebration. The gala raised funds for upcoming expansions of programs and honored the service and support that community partners have contributed to ASIA’s client base throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Justin Bibb of Cleveland and Chief of Staff/Deputy Mayor of Administration Gert Wilms of Akron gave opening remarks to promote their respective cities’ commitment to diversity, inclusion, and welcome for the refugee and immigrant community.

Lt. Thomas Whatley of Akron FD

The Akron Fire Department (AFD) was awarded the Community Impact Superhero for hosting fire safety classes and installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms with ASIA for the Nepali, Ka’Ren, and Congolese communities in North Hill after a tragic house fire in Akron killed a Nepalese-speaking family of five. Lieutenant Thomas Whatley accepted the award on behalf of AFD.

The Cleveland Department of Public Health was awarded the Community Health Superhero for

Tommy Doot accepting Superhero award

their partnership in ASIA’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts. They consistently supplied ASIA with COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses to vaccinate the Limited-English-Proficient community in Cleveland during pop-up events throughout the pandemic, including a Mother’s Day and a Voter Registration Day pop-up. Thomas Doot accepted the award on its behalf.

Huntington Bank was awarded the Community Defender Award for assisting ASIA in securing a Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan that was crucial to ASIA staying open during the pandemic when clients and patients were not leaving their homes to receive services. The PPP loan kept ASIA’s doors open and staff on payroll so that they could continue to provide services to clients during the pandemic and beyond. Jennifer Oberg accepted the award on Huntington’s behalf.
Mayor Justin Bibb and Elaine Tso, CEO ASIA

“We are so honored that so many special guests came out to support our 25th +1 Anniversary,” said Elaine Tso, CEO of ASIA. “We could not do what we do without this support from funders and community partners as well as the commitment of our ASIA team members.”

The money raised at the Gala will go toward the expansion of the International Community Health Center, social service programs, and more. ASIA annually serves tens of thousands of clients and patients in Northeast Ohio.

To learn more about ASIA’s services and programs, visit www.asiaohio.org.

ASIA is the largest health and human services agency serving the Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) community of Northeast Ohio. ASIA serves, supports, and advocates for AAPI, immigrants, and refugees so that they prosper and flourish.